Start with its name: Circle Circle Dot Dot.
"A lot of people think it means boobs," said Katherine Harroff, artistic director of the Circle Circle Dot Dot theater company. "Actually, Circle Circle Dot Dot is a silly children's rhyme about getting your shot against cooties." It's also the title of a single by rap artists Jamie Kennedy and Stu Stone. Harroff laughs and shrugs. "Whatever it takes to get our name out there."
In San Diego theater circles, the name is out there, due in large part to Circle Circle Dot Dot's two productions of the site-specific San Diego, I Love You, which took intrepid audiences on journeys first through Hillcrest and then University Heights. A third production, starting next month, San Diego I Love You 3.0, will use the UCSD campus as a locale. The nonprofit company is also highly regarded for its inaugural season's Deconstruction of a Drag Queen, its San Diego Derby Dolls production DerbyWise and its current residency at La Jolla Playhouse, which included a staging last year of Harroff's sci-fi vehicle Red Planet Respite. In the spring, Circle Circle Dot Dot will cap its Playhouse residency with Wild California, a work based on the research of biologists and conservationists.
The company was founded in December 2010 and presented its first production, The Break-Up Break-Down, the following summer. That show was based on true stories from the original eight Circle Circle Dot Dot members.
"All of our work is inspired by community voices, by true stories," said Harroff, who's not only Circle Circle Dot Dot's artistic director but also a playwright, actor, singer and director.
Red Planet Respite and the upcoming Wild California suggest that the company is expanding beyond its community-voices foundation, but Harroff still has an eye on what she believes to be important neighborhood stories to tell.
At the same time, Circle Circle Dot Dot is in search of a long-term performance venue, but Harroff's principal focus is creative. "My ultimate dream," she said, "is to eventually turn into a festival where, for five months of the year, we're doing shows in repertory and doing different residencies where people have the opportunity to see community-based theater. If we put it together, there will be even more opportunities for conversation."
Annie Jr.: California Youth Conservatory Theatre presents the young-folks version of the musical about the orphan girl who, amid her desperate search for her parents, melts the heart of a stuffy rich guy. Opens Jan. 10 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown. lyceumevents.org
C.S. Lewis On Stage: Tom Key, executive artistic director of Atlanta's Theatrical Outfit, embodies the writer of The Chronicles of Narnia in a one-man show. Opens Jan. 9 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Wrong Window: In a madcap send-up of Alfred Hitchcock, a man finds his neighbor's dead body in his closet. Opens Jan. 9 at PowPAC in Poway. powpac.org
Dirty Dancing: Yep, it's the stage version of the 1987 film about a teenage girl and the oh-so-sexy dance instructor with whom she's smitten. Presented by Broadway San Diego, it runs through Jan. 11 at the Civic Theatre, Downtown. broadwaysd.com
Gidion's Knot: The intellectual single mother of a son who's killed himself confronts his teacher in a tense meeting that plays out in real time. Through Jan. 18 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
Steal Heaven: Famed activist Abbie Hoffman is in Heaven, running a boot camp for dead radicals who want to head back to Earth to be effective change agents. Presented by San Diefgo Repertory Theatre, it runs through Jan. 25 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown. sdrep.org
Win Place or Die My Jockeys are Killing Me: Mystery Café's latest comic-caper dinner-theater production is set at the Thoroughbred Club at Upson Down Race Track. It's ongoing at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. mysterycafe.net